Egon Stahl Award in Bronze to Dr. S. Vlad Luca from GA

The prestigious Egon Stahl-Award 2020 with Bronze Medal is bestowed to Dr. Simon Vlad Luca from Technical University of Munich, Germany, in recognition of his valuable contributions to pharmaceutical biology and analytical phytochemistry, in particular his studies on bioactive metabolites from Verbascum  ovalifolium Donn ex Sims and Verbascum blattaria L.

The Award is dedicated to young scholars up to the age of about thirty whose thesis are of outstanding quality in the fields of pharmaceutical biology and analytical (phyto-)chemistry. 

In May 2019 Dr. Luca successfully defended his doctoral thesis of outstanding quality under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Krystyna Skalicka-Woźniak of the Medical University of Lublin, Poland, and that of Prof. Dr. Anca Miron from the Department of Pharmacognosy, Grigore T. Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy Iasi, Romania.

His thesis, entitled “Bioactive metabolites from Verbascum species”, focused on the phytochemical and biological investigation of two mullein species (Verbascum ovalifolium Donn ex Sims and Verbascum blattaria L.) which were not extensively investigated before. Firstly, extracts obtained with different polarity solvents were characterized by HPLC-DAD-ESI-Q-TOF-MS/MS, with a total number of 53 compounds in V. ovalifolium and 35 compounds in V. blattaria being partly or fully identified. The dereplication procedures for the simple and fast identification of acylated catalpol-type iridoid diglycosides, were meticulously described. This class of compounds had previously not been analyzed by mass spectrometry techniques. Secondly, for the first time liquid-liquid chromatography was used in isolating compounds from Verbascum genus, designing and optimizing new methods for the separation of eight acylated catalpol-type iridoid diglycosides, one phenylethanoid glycoside, two flavonoids and two phenolic acids.

Their structures were fully confirmed after in-depth analyses of their NMR spectra, including 1H-, 13C-NMR, COSY, HMBC, HSQC, ROESY. Lastly, all the above extensive phytochemical studies were dubbed by considerate biological investigations that can find potential applications in tumour and inflammatory diseases. Verbascum extracts were evaluated for potential cyto-genotoxicity activity in non-tumour cells as well as cytotoxicity in malignant melanoma cells. Furthermore, the isolated compounds were assessed regarding their cytotoxic, pro-apoptotic, pro-oxidant and cell-cycle blockage effects in different tumor cell lines, as well as their IL-8 and TNF-α secretion inhibitory activity in LPS-stimulated neutrophils.

It is a great honour for the Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research (GA) and our personal pleasure to bestow Dr. Luca with the Egon Stahl Award in Bronze in 2020.

On behalf of the entire Board of the Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research (GA) – Judith M. Rollinger (president), Anna-Rita Bilia and Michael Heinrich (vice presidents), Olaf Kelber and Bernd Roether (ExCo members).

A special GA e-symposium will be dedicated to the awardees on November 6, 2020. All GA members as well as guests from all societies and people dedicated to natural product research are highly welcome. More information will follow.

Further Information

Post-doctoral researcher Dr. Simon Vlad Luca has shown high productivity and independence as a young researcher being only 29 years old. He has studied his bachelor and master degrees for Pharmacist diploma and Doctor of Pharmacy, both obtained at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Iasi, Romania. After his PhD thesis, which was very successful in terms of new discoveries, in 2017 and 2018 he worked as research investigator and PhD trainee at the Department of Pharmacognosy with Medicinal Plant Unit of the Medical University of Lublin, Poland.  During this period, Dr. Luca collaborated extensively with University research groups of Austria, Turkey, Tunisia, New Caledonia. Currently, Dr. Luca has a post-doc position at the School of Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan Technical University of Munich, Germany, working in the field of liquid-liquid chromatography, being part of a very competitive and international team of young scientists. He is the main research investigator in an international project between Technical University of Munich, Bafa Neu GmbH (Germany) and Rotachrom Technologies (Hungary) and is responsible in developing a computer-aided liquid-liquid chromatography platform for the purification of cannabidiol from hemp extracts. Overall, Mr Luca is co-author of more than 25 papers published in ISI journals, with a sum of IF > 60, two book chapters published in Wiley and Elsevier books, and more than 20 conference papers presented in international scientific meetings.

General information

The GA (Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research) is dedicated to the scientific exchange of information about medicinal plants, their pharmacology; the phytochemistry, biosynthesis and biotechnology of natural products, and related fields to basic and applied research on medicinal plants and natural products. One of our key aims is to foster research and disseminate information about evidence based medical uses of natural substances.

This press release provides information and an assessment of the current scientific evidence for scientific, educational and non-commercial use. It is for the purpose of disseminating information only and does not constitute and form of advice.


Prof. Dr. Anna Rita Bilia

Dr Olaf Kelber